Myths busted: facts and fiction about the novel coronavirus

March 2, 2020 GMT
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BEIJING, March 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report from China Daily:

For the first time, the number of new novel coronavirus infections in China was overtaken by new cases elsewhere.

The fast increase in the number of infections in the Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran-expanding more than tenfold to over 3,000 in a few days-indicates it is still too early to relax global vigilance against the virus.

That’s why we still strongly condemn any misconceptions or misinformation, which have been spreading faster than the novel coronavirus since the outbreak began. This has the potential for widespread global panic.

We’ve highlighted five baseless rumors to help you better understand facts and fiction of the novel coronavirus.

Rumor 1: The novel coronavirus was manufactured and leaked from a research laboratory in China.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been targeted by conspiracy theories since the start of the epidemic.

Despite little public evidence, the theory spread widely on social media. Experts worldwide debunked the idea the virus could be manmade, and pointed out a coronavirus would not be a useful weapon.

On Feb 18 London time, a group of 27 public health scientists from 8 countries have signed an “open letter” in the Lancet journal to support scientists, public health and medical professionals of China fighting the outbreak of COVID-19 and roundly condemn conspiracy theories surrounding it. The petition is still circulating, and the amount of people signing on is still growing.

Rumor 2: The novel coronavirus is more deadly than any other pathogen.

The fatality rate of the novel coronavirus pneumonia is about 3 to 4 percent, much lower than the fatality rate of other pathogens such as Ebola, Marburg and rabies viruses.

And don’t forget influenza, which used to kill tens of millions of people around the world before the flu vaccine was developed.

Rumor 3: It is dangerous to eat at a Chinese restaurant or to receive a letter or package from China.

Owners of Chinese restaurants abroad have reported a downturn in business since the novel coronavirus outbreak. Few dare to have dinners there anymore.

The fact is, the novel coronavirus is passed from person to person, not through food.

As for packages, previous analysis has shown coronavirus does not survive long on objects such as letters or packages, so it’s safe to receive packages from China.

Rumor 4: Common people can contract the virus through aerosols.

Aerosol, a suspension of fine solid or liquid particles in gas, can transmit the novel coronavirus only if a person is exposed to a highly concentrated contaminated mixture in an enclosed area for an extended period, according to the latest treatment and diagnosis plan.

Rumor 5: Drinking water at 60 degrees Celsius can kill the virus.

The novel coronavirus can be killed in water at 56 C or higher after 30 minutes, but it is impossible for the human body to lift its temperature to 56 C.

As WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, “This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.”

We highly recommend people around the world stay calm and separate the facts from the rumors — which helps with virus prevention in its own small way.

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SOURCE China Daily